Teresa Price is a self-employed engineer serving on the Board of Directors of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine. She teaches Family to Family (F2F) classes for family members of people living with mental illness and she recently became a trainer for other F2F teachers. This work has been a driving passion for Teresa ever since her oldest son Logan, who is 27 years old, experienced his first psychotic break in 2010.
A brilliant young man who was studying biomedical engineering when he fell ill with schizophrenia, Logan had to drop out of school. While his intellect remains intact, he has not been able to work since stress of any kind exacerbates his symptoms. Until recently, Logan had been successfully living in supported housing about 30 miles away from his parents. Being very frugal with his money and having a low cost of living, he was accumulating too much for SSA’s asset limitation requirements. Additionally, Teresa and her husband wanted him to have a nest egg for the future to enable him to live independently after they are gone. That is where opening an ABLE account came in.
There is no ABLE program in the state of Maine where Teresa and Logan live at this time. As a result, Logan chose ABLE TN (Tennessee) for his account, since ABLE TN was accepting out of state residents. Logan’s ABLE account gives him the option to save for an apartment, a car and to support possible future employment. Just as importantly, contributing to his ABLE account gives Logan a sense of security and accomplishment and helps him to remain stable. In addition to Logan’s savings, Teresa also contributes a few hundred dollars a month into his ABLE account.
Teresa shares that the pandemic has been particularly hard on him. “Logan and his two younger siblings, all in their twenties, are living with us for the duration, she shared” Everything feels out of control, so it’s reassuring to our son to realize at least the ABLE account is there for him. He feels sufficiently financially secure that he regularly contributes to our household and donated his stimulus check to the family to help cover our increased household costs. He wouldn’t have been able to do that without the backing of his ABLE account. It rightfully made him very proud he could help us out at a time like this.”
Teresa continues, “For his dad and me, it’s huge knowing he has the ABLE account. We worry about his brother and sister having to support him when we’re gone. Although our son’s living situation is secure now, we know that federal and state funding is likely to plummet due to the pandemic and we cannot take continued support for granted. The funds in his ABLE account will ensure that he has all the services he needs, such as aides coming in a couple of times a week to assist him in household tasks. I would encourage all families of seriously mentally ill people to open ABLE accounts. It’s one thing you can do to feel like you have a little control over your loved one’s future.”